Today’s post is by contributing writer Ryan Glass:
Dear Valued Rider,
We realize our relationship has had its ups and downs this past two years, and since it’s the New Year, it feels like we should join in the spirit and shape some things up so that we can feel better about each other in 2012. Therefore, we present our list of resolutions:
- Longer trains arriving more often. Yeah, it really sucks having to wait on the platform for so long just to get crammed into a one-car train. We admit we started this so that we could take pictures of jam-packed trains, but we’ve really only continued it as a joke. Also, if we’re being honest, sometimes we turn the spare train cars into our version of a party bus and just drive it around the maintenance area while you’re sweltering in the heat and having to stand belly-to-belly with some gigantor of questionable hygiene. This was kind of a jerk move on our part, and we’re sorry.
- Speaking of packed cars, we all love folks who take their bike to/from the train, but we know that it’s obnoxious when bikers block the aisles and/or don’t even dismount. So this year we’ll figure out a way to convince them that putting their bike on the bike rack really isn’t that tough. We also think that we could drum up some good support for the Light Rail by leaking security footage of people falling down while trying to hoist their bikes up onto the rack. YouTube sensation, here we come!
- Barring the success of point #2 above, we’re also looking into alternatives in case our existing bike rack system really isn’t that user-friendly. We have a few different ideas drawn on cocktail napkins left-over from our Christmas party. Our favorite so far looks like one of those old timey railway handcar, with an option of a pedal-powered fan.
- Red lights? Thing of the past. Welcome to the 20th century with traffic planning that changes the signal whenever a train approaches.
- We realize that the transit officers checking your fare payment onboard aren’t always the most friendly of folks, so in an effort to improve the way they are perceived, our officers will also start distributing Eggo brand frozen waffles with each successful fare check. (butter & syrup dispensers on back-order)
- We’ll see what we can do to stop the drivers from pulling away when they see you running up the platform and buying your pass before rushing on-board. This started as us trying to keep the trains running on schedule, but our attempts to incentivize this with the drivers spurred a competition to see how many passengers could be left on the platform, and admit we’ve created a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster here…we’ll do better.
- If we’re not successful in convincing the drivers to wait a little longer, maybe we could look into a refillable pass of some sort, but just maybe. Really it wouldn’t be too hard to do, but it would sort of make too much sense to give our private passengers the same ease of access that we provide to our corporate and university partners. It’s sorta just not our style; we like playing hard to get, you know.
- But hey, we know you’ll love this one. Anytime someone sits in the middle-seat of an empty three-seat bench, the bench will spring up and eject them into the air. Pick a side, guy!
- And we saved the best for last. Coffee-carts on the platform. No more wondering if you’ll have time to duck into the cafe across the street before the train comes. Actually, the vendor we’ve hired to manage the coffee carts is probably 10x more likely to come out with a refillable pass than we are. Sure, the coffee on the platform will taste like rubbish, but that’s sorta what you get for not supporting local brick-and-mortar.
Hopefully these changes can bring us closer together, and we’ll see your tuckus onboard more often in 2012.
Photo credit: Photo by Taz Loomans.Tags: Light Rail, light rail ridership, phoenix, ryan glass, Valley Metro